The holy grail for most businesses is to become so huge on a social media platform that most of your work is done for you. Can you imagine what it’s like to have your posts shared by your followers without your asking, or to see consistent growth with little effort on your part? Oh man, is that the dream or what!

The problem is that being popular on any platform, including Instagram, can’t happen without a solid plan in place. The actual putting together of the plan when you’re set on finding out how to be popular on Instagram isn’t difficult, but the follow-through can be, especially once you get over the hurdles that come with creating a content plan.

And while I wish I could help you build the discipline that comes with creating a consistent strategy, that part falls on you I’m afraid. Believe me, I’m all too familiar with avoiding putting the work in and having a surprised Pikachu face when my engagement rates drop. I know it’s a difficult climb, but at least we can cover the groundwork together with a few social media marketing tips for startups or small businesses like yours to set you up for success right now. Ready for my tips for how to be popular on social media platforms like Instagram? Let’s get to it.

how to be popular on instagram

So let’s break down what it’s going to take for your business to be popular on Instagram and how you can reach a massive, engaged following:

1. Post Regularly

There’s no way to avoid this, I’m afraid. It’s going to be the hardest point here to overcome but if you front-load your content as much as you can and using a scheduler, it’s not as difficult as you might think. I use Planoly to help me schedule my content and definitely recommend them! If you need help thinking of things to post, I wrote a whole series about content ideas for different social media platforms including Instagram and Pinterest.

2. Create more Carousels

Statistically, if you’re looking to increase engagement, then you’re going to want to create as much “low hanging fruit” as possible. Honestly, if you want to learn how to be popular on Instagram you’ve got to go for the easy wins. Creating carousel posts is an easy way to up your engagement rate as people will naturally scroll through those posts, which Instagram counts as separate engagement points.

3. Engage Your Ideal Audience

You can’t create a successful brand on Instagram in a vacuum, you’re going to have to spend time doing outreach and commenting on others’ accounts to spread the word. Gary Vee has a great $1.80 strategy that can help you create an engagement plan without feeling like you’re spending all day on Instagram.

4. Utilize Instagram Stories

Like carousels, Stories are an easy way to foster engagement and get more eyeballs on your brand. One quick tip is to not forget to have hashtags and locations in your Stories to help get more views. The recommended number of hashtags for a story is usually no more than 3.

5. Change Up Your Hashtags

Instagram has said they will consider accounts that use the same hashtags over and over as spamming and may throttle your views, so it’s absolutely critical that you keep a fresh rotation of hashtags around, and it’s good practice to keep trying new hashtags out anyhow! Planoly has a hashtag feature where you can store different sets of hashtags and paste them into your posts but most other schedulers will have a similar feature.

6. Stop Looking at the Numbers

Don’t fret over vanity metrics like the number of followers you have. Having 250k followers and 5 comments per post isn’t going to do you any favors, especially if you’re a business or brand that wants to establish collaboration partnerships. I know it’s easier said than done, but if you want to know how to be popular on Instagram then you’ve got to focus on the stats that matter, not the vanity numbers. It’s one of the reasons I’ve made it an active step in my social media plan to cull the number of followers I have so that I can have a better engagement rate.

7. Give every post a call to action

Your being on Instagram has to have a purpose behind it. Otherwise, you’re wasting valuable time and resources that could be growing your business elsewhere. So you need to think strategically about every post and start making it a habit to include a call to action (CTA) on every post you make. No matter if it’s a carousel, static feed, live stream, or story, your post needs to tell your potential customers what they should do next. It could be to visit a link but it doesn’t need to be (though your ultimate goal is to get them off of Instagram and onto your website instead). Other CTAs could be sharing the post, liking and commenting, tagging a friend, asking a question, or anything else that keeps engagement up.

The more engagement you have, the more the algorithm will notice your account and start boosting it in both the “popular” section and the feeds of people who already follow you, ensuring your posts actually get seen.

What to Do if Your Social Media Strategy Isn’t Working

So let’s say you’ve put all this time into building your Instagram account but things just aren’t working the way you hoped. What can you do?

1. Analyze your audience

The first step is to analyze your audience and figure out what type of content resonates with them. This could involve using tools like Google Trends or Instagram Insights to see if there are any clusters of interest that you may have missed.

2. Try different content formats

If you’re posting regular photos, try turning them into short videos instead. If you’re a blog writer, consider writing articles in a shorter, punchier format that’s easier to read on Instagram. And if you do interviews, make sure to include hashtags that are relevant to your audience so they can find your posts easily.

3. Align your posts with your brand strategy

Once you’ve figured out what types of content work well for your audience and what format works best for your blog or interview style content, make sure all of the posts are consistent with this strategy. This means making sure the images you choose are appropriate for the topic, the tone of the post is in line with your brand values, and the CTA is clear and actionable.

4. Spend more time on engagement

The most successful marketers know that engagement is key. Studies show that posts with higher engagement rates are more likely to be shared and liked. Aim to post engaging content that’s relevant to your audience and makes them want to learn more. This could mean using interesting visuals, using images or stories that evoke a strong emotional response, or sparking a conversation by asking questions that get people thinking.

Marketing strategies for businesses can be difficult to define and implement, but with a little effort, you can create content that engages your audience and drives traffic to your site.

5. Consider throwing money at the problem

Some strategies, like paid ads or marketing partnerships, are more expensive than others but can deliver a greater return on investment (ROI). If you have the funds available, investing in these types of strategies could be the key to your success. However, keep in mind that not all marketing efforts are equal – the most effective ones tend to be those that are both targeted and timely.

6. Start collaborating with other accounts in your field

Not all businesses are created equal, and your audience is probably different from that of your competitors. By collaborating with other businesses in your industry, you can learn from each other and create content that’s both relevant and valuable to your followers. This symbiotic relationship can also lead to valuable partnerships and increased traffic.

7. Experiment

There’s no one right way to market your business – sometimes it’s best to experiment with new strategies or tactics until you find something that works well for you. If you don’t have the time or resources to try everything, at least make sure that you’re regularly publishing quality content that speaks to your audience. And remember: if something isn’t working, always be open to changing course – there’s a good chance that something else will work better in the long run.

Final thoughts

The #1 tip I can give you in all of this, though, is to make sure your content is consistent, as none of this works without establishing a routine to send out content to followers who have an expectation of when you’ll post. So start there and work your way through these other steps and I promise that you’ll start seeing results!

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